Sunday, November 29, 2015

Why Marvel’s Jessica Jones Matters


Jessica Jones is the superhero we all need. She’s not above everyone else. She’s not better than anyone else. Tony Stark excels at creating new tech, Steve Rogers is a flawless and respected leader with a perfect body, Natasha Romanoff is a near-emotionless superspy, Clark Kent is an unstoppable perfection limited only by a glowing green rock, and the rich Batman has a deus ex machina to get him out of every situation. Jessica Jones is a working woman, struggling to make a living, what pitiful version of living she’s doing. Marvel’s Jessica Jones is all about women’s empowerment. Trish Walker’s line perfectly sums up the theme of the series: “Men and power; it’s seriously a disease.” 


Friday, May 8, 2015

When Women Play the Game: Mya Stone

Mya Stone by Bodach
Mya Stone is like the mules she rides so adeptly: stubborn, calm, and great on the rocky terrain of the Vale. The first words she says are: “The mules know the way, Ser Brynden.” She sounds like she knows the path to the Eyrie in the dark just as well as the mules, especially since she’s made it a hundred times. She verifies that it’s less about the mules and more about her when she adds, that “Mychel says my father must have been a goat.”1 Ser Lothor, who seems to crush on Stone, later tells Sansa that Stone would not wait long for Lord Robert Arryn to descend the mountain with her, for she was as stubborn as her mules. “She’s half mule herself, that one. I think she’d leave us all to starve before she’d put those animals at risk,” he says.5

Thursday, April 30, 2015

When Women Play the Game: Melisandre of Asshai

Melisandre of Asshai by Elia Mervi
Warranting her own entry separate from other seers, Melisandre is a bold character that commands respect and fear. Known as the Red Woman, The Red Priestess, The King’s Red Shadow, and Lady Red, Melisandre remains resolute in her belief that her visions hold truth, that her prophecies are correct because her god R’hllor is the one true god. Melisandre may not be a priestess of a real god, but she may be a witch or a seer. She may simply be someone who reads people and their outcomes well. She may know how to manipulate people, using religion and fear. That she does quite well.

The Red Woman is a brilliant tactician, leader, and actress. She is a goddess incarnate, exceeding any typical priestess. Just as her male priest counterparts do, Melisandre wears red clothing head to toe with unnaturally red hair. Her whole image was unnatural, evoking a sense of mystery and fear. Maester Cressen notes, “Many called her beautiful. She was not beautiful. She was red, and terrible, and red.”1  Melisandre, though equal to a priest in status, is able to do what the priests cannot: give birth to shadow demons. 3

Friday, April 3, 2015

When Women Play the Game: The Seers (Maggy the Frog, The Lady of the Leaves, Mother Mole, Teora Toland)

Women tend to be prophetic in A Song of Ice and Fire. If men are, they tend to be greenseers, like Bran Stark and Jojen Reed. However, this is not a new concept. History and legend have had many women as precognitives, usually vessels of a mother goddess’ words, although they were typically known as witches or hags during the Middle Ages, most definitely denotations. During Christianity’s battle for control of the entire world, they demonized women, and men who had the gift of prophecy were known as holy prophets. 

Prior to this, women of foresight were respected and revered. Oracles such as Cassandra of Troy would be highly regarded, but her story was one of great tragedy, for she was cursed by Apollo after declining his advances. Her curse was that she would see the future, but no one would ever believe her. A madness-inducing gift such as foresight would only be exacerbated by the thought that no one believes you, and you have the power to facilitate the change of an outcome.

The Delphic Oracle, Kylix by Kodros the Painter, c440-430 BC

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Back to Normal Soon

Soon, all will be back to normal. I will resume in-depth looks at the women of A Song of Ice and Fire as we head towards the season premiere of Game of Thrones! I also have a couple folk tune analyses on the horizon! There's a post on Galadriel coming up, too! And much, much more! In the meantime, you can find me reviewing Chris Claremont's X-Men run and posting at tumblr and twitter some feminist goodies! You can also find some of my creative work at Mutant Magazine, the world's foremost satirical fan-made magazine of Marvel's not-so-merry mutants!